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Gay Lawmaker Becomes Majority Leader of Washington State Senate

Gay Lawmaker Becomes Majority Leader of Washington State Senate

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Ed Murray is the second openly gay person in U.S. history to head a state senate.

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Ed Murray was elected Tuesday as majority leader of the Washington State Senate, making him the second openly gay person in U.S. history to lead a state senate.

Murray, a Democrat, has been a state senator since 2006 and served 11 years in the state House of Representatives before that, notes the Victory Fund blog Gay Politics. He was the lead sponsor of the state's marriage equality bill, which passed earlier this year and was affirmed by voters in last week's election.

"We have work to do in Olympia -- prioritizing education, creating jobs for the middle class, and ensuring Washingtonians have the health care they need," Murray said in a press release Tuesday evening. "And one of our challenges in a closely divided chamber is to ensure that the Senate is able to fulfill its obligation to govern the state, in tandem with Gov.-elect Jay Inslee and the House. These are not simple challenges, but they are solvable. We can find solutions that work for all of Washington."

The only other openly gay person to head a state senate was the late Allan Spear, president of the Minnesota Senate from 1992 to 2000. Spear was a senator from 1972 until his retirement in 2000; he came out as gay in 1974. Current LGBT leaders of state houses or assemblies are California Assembly speaker John Perez, Rhode Island House speaker Gordon D. Fox, and incoming Colorado House speaker Mark Ferrandino. Rep. Tina Kotek, a lesbian, is expected to be elected speaker of the Oregon House this week.

"We congratulate Senator Murray for this wonderful recognition of his leadership skills and dedication to the people of Washington," said Victory Fund president and CEO Chuck Wolfe. "He has proven that openly LGBT Americans have much to offer their communities as leaders and representatives, and his commitment to open and honest public service has set an example for LGBT youth."

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Trudy Ring

Trudy Ring is The Advocate’s senior politics editor and copy chief. She has been a reporter and editor for daily newspapers and LGBTQ+ weeklies/monthlies, trade magazines, and reference books. She is a political junkie who thinks even the wonkiest details are fascinating, and she always loves to see political candidates who are groundbreaking in some way. She enjoys writing about other topics as well, including religion (she’s interested in what people believe and why), literature, theater, and film. Trudy is a proud “old movie weirdo” and loves the Hollywood films of the 1930s and ’40s above all others. Other interests include classic rock music (Bruce Springsteen rules!) and history. Oh, and she was a Jeopardy! contestant back in 1998 and won two games. Not up there with Amy Schneider, but Trudy still takes pride in this achievement.
Trudy Ring is The Advocate’s senior politics editor and copy chief. She has been a reporter and editor for daily newspapers and LGBTQ+ weeklies/monthlies, trade magazines, and reference books. She is a political junkie who thinks even the wonkiest details are fascinating, and she always loves to see political candidates who are groundbreaking in some way. She enjoys writing about other topics as well, including religion (she’s interested in what people believe and why), literature, theater, and film. Trudy is a proud “old movie weirdo” and loves the Hollywood films of the 1930s and ’40s above all others. Other interests include classic rock music (Bruce Springsteen rules!) and history. Oh, and she was a Jeopardy! contestant back in 1998 and won two games. Not up there with Amy Schneider, but Trudy still takes pride in this achievement.